Sunday, April 4, 2021

Are We Ready for the Next Pandemic?

 While most of us prefer order and routine, life can turn course unexpectedly and randomly.  Of course, we all know this.  For many of us, our occupation, our choice of mates or where we live are the result of some chance occurrence, not the product of diligent planning.   Indeed, this reality adds some excitement and wonder into our existences.  Would we really want to live according to a prescribed routine like a train schedule?   For me, I am most satisfied when my days include my daily routine pleasures seasoned with some spontaneity.  I suspect that this is true for most of us.  However, we differ in the ratio of random/routine that we prefer.   Some of us plan a trip, for example, with each day carefully planned while others prefer to simply land in their destination and explore untethered to a guidebook or a rigid schedule.

And no force can set order aside more forcefully than nature.  Here is the scene from our window earlier this week.  Does this look like a typical spring day?  Apparently, Mother Nature has her own order of things.

Is Mother Nature Out of Order?

There are certain tasks for which a specified order is the optimal option.  When an airline pilot is preparing for take off or when a surgeon is preparing for surgery, each of these professionals proceeds through a check list of requirements to verify that all safety protocols have been followed so that the risk of a misadventure is minimized.  These safety checks have been devised over time with revisions performed as necessary.  They are born from experience.  Each item on the list is to prevent a specific adverse reaction which was at higher risk of occurrence prior the check list era.  For example, prior to a medical procedure, it is now mandatory for the medical team to verify the identity of the patient.  Any idea why this ID verification came about?

We don’t want airline pilots simply to bring spontaneity to their flights letting them ‘wing it’.  “Maybe today will fly this bird right over the coast so the folks can get a great view.” 

We are still trying wrest ourselves free from the gripping tentacles of the pandemic.  And one of the lessons, which we still haven’t learned is that there is a specific order of measures and mitigation that must be followed to prevail.  As we look around the world, we see that some nations are much closer to the end zone than are others.  Europe is behind the U.S. and we should be much farther ahead than we are.   If we had followed public health directives early and consistently, opening up the economy and schools according to science, rejected distracting political interference, where might we be today?   Has this experience persuaded to use the pandemic check list next time?


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